Kurama spent most of the school day thinking about the strange elfin woman he had met. It was unusual for him to be so distracted, not that anyone at the school would notice anything different. Though he was polite and friendly, he really didn't socialize much or have any friends. That it wasn't safe for them to be too close to him was part of the reason he kept his distance. The incident with Maya had brought that home with a vengence.
The other was that they were real children and he was not. He pretended well enough when he had to, but truthfully he had looked down on most of the humans around him until a few years ago. It had changed when Maya had confessed to him and then been kidknapped and almost killed. She had thought him shy and sweet, she had believed the lie that he showed the world, a lie that had begun evolving even then. He had not even realized at that point, that he actually cared about his own human mother. Psychic gifts not with standing, she had seen demons speaking to him and known there was something different about him. She had claimed to loved him, but she hadn't really known him either. When he had erased Maya's memory, he had felt regret. He could admit that to himself now... Regret, but because he couldn't have her or because he didn't love her? It had been doomed before it started. How could he have told her what he was? That she would grow old and die and as a fox spirit/demon, he would not. Maya could have no frame of reference to empathize or understand him, but the Lady Vann did. She had "suffered" reincarnation, as she put it, several times.
Now suddenly this thousand year old reincarnating fae dragon creature, Vanimallion, was here in his life, making him feel... Kurama wasn't really sure what he was feeling, that was the problem. She had tried to help his mother, for his sake. She had known what he had intended to do. What Yusuke would do about it, and had wanted to risk her own life instead to protect him. If he was being honest with himself, she had been trying to protect Yususke too and when Botan and Yusuke dragged her back to him in the hospital, she hadn't seemed angry. She had been very tolerant and patient, more so than he would've been, well she had told him last night that she loved all of them. Maybe that was what was bothering him the most, but was it that she had in a 'round about way said she loved him? Or was it that she had said she loved "everyone" and not just him?
Vann appeared to be barely seventeen or eighteen, but he could tell that she looked upon everyone around her as if they were children. Kurama was as familar with the look, as he was the feeling. He believed she was as old as she claimed. Vann seemed to know alot about him too, more than he was really comfortable with. Was there something different about the way she smiled at him though? A smile somewhere between relief and affection, like he was a sight for sore eyes? Was it bad that it made him feel ... good? Even though they had not spoke to each other this morning, she had smiled at him that same way at the punishment board review. As if just seeing him, was a reason to smile.
The final bell of the day rang and everyone jumped up to leave. Kurama picked up his school bag and walked slowly through the halls feeling... Anxious? Depressed? Hopeful? He wasn't used to being this human and feeling so much at once. He walked across the school yard, eyes on the ground lost in thought. When Kurama glanced up, he saw her, Lady Vanimallion Siluva Nasare Brogadur, standing just outside the school gates. The lady was dressed in jeans and t-shirt this time, with a jacket and the same brown boots he had seen on her before. Vann ignored all the other students walking by, even though they stared as they passed her. She smiled as their eyes met. Kurama realized in a sudden epiphony, 'She came here to be my friend, didn't she?'
She looked very normal with her long brown hair and average pretty face. He had only seen her so far in this human shape and wondered what she really looked like. She had told him she was a shapeshifter and that didn't bother him. Many fox demons had shapeshifting abilities after all, including him. He approached and returned a small smile as he stopped in front of her. His classmates were going to be talking tomorrow.
It'd been a long time since he had had a friend. His smile widened ever so slightly and even warmed a bit as he offered her his hand, let them talk. Vann took the offered hand and led Kurama away from the school yard. Sometimes when you meet someone, you just know instantly that you will get along. It had happened when he had met Hiei also.
They went and visited his mother first. She explained along the way that Hiei was making his move soon. After she explained what she knew of Hiei's plan, Kurama was insistant that they join the fray and help Yusuke anyway they could. He felt very strongly about owing a debt to the spirit detective and to Vann herself, of course. He wanted to help Yusuke protect his girlfriend, and he was reminded again of Maya. It was odd to see Vann place the box of homemade sweets(from her daughter) by his mother's bedside and smile at his mother. Things that Maya would have surely done, if he had choosen to return her affections. He couldn't sense any deception in Vann's smile, there was only honest kindness and warmth, no dislike of human kind, no condescension. His guilty conscious poked him again, Maya would have been warm and kind as well, but he had not choosen to accept her. He had even told her so to her face, before he had been forced to go rescue her and erase her memories.
He had a second epiphony as he watched Vann laugh and smile at some random comment his mother made. He wanted to be a friend to this new person in his life, and he was tired of being lonely despite not being all alone. His mother loved him and he loved her without a doubt, but there were places he went that she couldn't follow, places in the demon and spirit world. He was still a demon(despite being trapped in his human body and it locking away most of his power) and the demon world (and its people) was obviously not going to leave him to live a human life in peace. It would be good to have allies... friends, he corrected himself. His mother gave him a bit of a knowing smile, as he made excuses for the two of the them to leave shortly and he knew he would be answering many pointed questions soon.
They didn't talk much after they left the hospital. After a couple of blocks, Vann remarked on how quickly his mother was regaining her strength and the look she had given them.
"Yes, we are going to have to talk about that later, before she starts asking me personal questions about you. It would be better, if our stories matched after all."
"I'll probably stick as close to memories as I can. If nothing else, it makes it easier to remember, if it isn't made up of lies."
"And you mentioned having memories that can serve this purpose?"
"Oh, yes. I've been born human on several occasions... and I am a dimension hopping world traveler. This would not be my first 20th century earth lifetime by any means."
"So are you really going to go with the ID you showed me and be eighteen? While I'm only 15?"
"I'm sorry. I think it's best to stick with my memories and I do have to be old enough to have custody of my 'little sister' ..."
"Ah, true enough. That will be difficult enough to explain, no need to make it even more complicated," Kurama sighed, while silently scolding himself. He was grateful that she didn't ask him to explain why her being 3 years older bothered him. He was reasonably sure she had already deduced why, but he was still glad she had not made him spell it out. Besides it wasn't as if she was really going to be his girlfriend. He was just letting everyone assume he had a crush on her, to explain why he had brought her around his sick mother. Actually the more he thought about it, the more believable it was that he would have a crush on an older girl.
"Besides your birthday is coming up isn't it? You'll turn 16 before I turn '19'? Eighteen and sixteen doesn't sound nearly as bad..."
Kurama felt his heart thumping in his chest. It was very different from when he was a demon. He took hold of her hand and began to run toward the warehouse district where Nasareth was watching Hiei.